You remember flip phones. You've seen foldable phones. You might have heard of rollable phones. But how about transparent rollable phones? Yep, that's what Samsung is touting in its latest patent filing, and it sounds pretty wild.
The concept of the 'rollable' has been around for a couple of years, with a few impressive tech demos showing 'unfurling' displays that expand in size, a little like unrolling a poster. But Samsung wants to make the idea even more magical. (Feeling old school? Check out the best flip phones available now.)
A new Samsung patent application (opens in new tab) reveals a device featuring a rollable display, complete with a transparent section. This means objects behind the phone would be visible, but information could still be displayed on the screen.
We've been pretty sceptical about transparent tech in the past (seriously, who needs a transparent TV?), but when it comes to a mobile device, the AR potential makes a lot more sense. For example, taking measurements of a physical object whilst actually being able to see it (rather than looking at it through the camera app) could be a game-changer for augmented reality.
While the patent illustrations are naturally complicated (turns out a lot of tech goes into transparency), the idea of a see-through phone sounds pretty novel. Unlike the circuit board vibe of most Y2K translucent tech, a truly 'invisible' slab could look pretty magical.
From the LG rollable (opens in new tab) to Oppo's rolling concept (opens in new tab), we've seen a few exciting examples of expanding screen tech. And the benefits for creatives could be profound – users could literally unroll a larger digital canvas when required. It wouldn't be a stretch to imagine a rollable becoming the first smartphone to rival our best drawing tablets.